MONTVILLE, NJ – About thirty residents came to the July 16 Montville Township Committee meeting to cite their dismay at the committee’s rezoning of a property in Pine Brook as part of its affordable housing agreement.
The property, located at the corner of Woodmont and Changebridge, is 13.45 acres and contains two buildings, contracted planner for the township Joseph Burgis of Burgis Associates stated at the meeting. Only one of the buildings might be developed, Mayor Richard Conklin explained to those assembled, as the township is required only to rezone the property in the agreement. As he has reiterated at several meetings, the zoning is not an automatic green light for the development on the property and developer MCRT Investments will have to go through the usual planning board and design review committee process. It would be developed as non age-restricted, Burgis said, to meet affordable housing requirements, and 55% of the property would remain landscaped open space. If the development goes through, 295 living units with varying numbers of bedrooms will be built. Township Attorney Fred Semrau said 19 would be three-bedroom units.
Long-time resident and former planning board chair Tom Mazzaccaro applauded the township’s efforts, as he said he had served during other litigation and he called the terms that the township had negotiated “great.”
Residents such as Jean Bader worried about the impact on the school system and the police and fire departments in addition to the traffic such a development would add to Montville streets. Henry Baldwin said he was concerned about the scale of the building and the water runoff, and Rob Schenk said he was also concerned with the number of stories.
Kerry Laurito and John Swauger were concerned about the fact that it seemed as though Pine Brook was being picked for the bulk of the new developments. Avalon Bay is part of the settlement and struck an agreement to build 349 units on the former GI Auto Salvage Yard in Pine Brook, but Burgis said plans have not been submitted, and Semrau said it will cost the company $10 million to clean up environmental dumping from the land. Semrau also explained that the negotiations the township did kept the number of new developments and units to a minimum. Conklin said, “We didn’t pick them – they sued us; they picked us.” Swauger was also concerned about the traffic in that area and the intersection of Changebridge at Bloomfield Avenue.
The rezoning ordinance was passed.
Life Scout Sebastian Roclore presented to the committee his proposal for his Eagle Scout project. The Boy Scout would like to supervise a team at Reilly Field/Park in Towaco to clear an easily hikeable trail in the woods behind the field. The trail would be approximately 3/4 of a mile and would start with a bridge that was the Eagle Scout project of Evan Cirkus. Paint would be needed to blaze the trail, and Roclore will be making signs to mark the trail, he said. Roclore told the committee that he has coordinated the project with the Open Space Committee, and the project will be conducted in August or September with about 25 scouts. The township committee approved the project.
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